TR: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic 7/1-9/19/16

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Re: TR: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic 7/1-9/19/16

Post by alpinemike » Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:10 pm

Day 54- Nine Lakes Basin to Lion Lake
The morning dawned clear & bright with no clouds in sight. Definitely a good sign. We both were going to climb Lion Rock so we climbed up the Westernmost part of Lion Rock Pass. As we climbed we did notice clouds in many directions, but they weren’t towering cumulus, which continued to indicate a good sign. We crested the pass and saw a good deal of snow to our surprise. This would be very helpful since all the rock there is super loose & shitty. We dropped our packs and made our way up Lion Rock very easily. The chute had 2 large chunks of snow that we were able to bypass fortunately. The summit was reached in no time and we had a terrific view! A little hazy to the North but not the kind of smoke we’ve had. Clouds were definitely building strong but none looked like typical thunderheads. Maybe and hopefully this signified the end of this storm cycle. We descended back down the snow to lunch. Clouds were getting darker but still no thunder. From there we descended off the pass to Lion Lake. Camping here is not great with grass and mixed rocks but it made do. A beautiful area no doubt. Clouds are dark to the North & East but super clear to the West. I finally did my laundry & bathed. Plenty of sun here to charge our phones which is good since we haven't had the opportunity in several days. We both use our phones as books since we download eBooks on them. Right before dinner it rained/sprinkled on us a bit. Anyways tomorrow we head to Lonely Lake via Copper Mine Pass. I can only pray the weather won’t **** us & we’ll have a good final night in Sequoia before we finally finish this section & get some real food! We’ve done 9 peaks so far & the 10th is tomorrow just for this section alone!
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Re: TR: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic 7/1-9/19/16

Post by alpinemike » Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:28 pm

Day 55- Lion Lake to Tablelands
We somehow managed to go over 4 Passes today. This particular day was the day I was most excited for potentially during the entire 81 days I spent with Rogue this summer. I knew that the views from Copper Mine Peak/Pass area could be some of the finest I had ever seen and would ever see. First we went up Lion Lake Pass, which was very easy. We were greeted by a beautiful view of Cloud Canyon & the Great Western Divide. Next, we climbed up the fairly easy Cloud Canyon Headwall to Copper Mine Pass. The rock was beautiful & the sky was clear. Couldn’t have been better. It wasn’t long before we made the 2nd Pass of the day & the views were stupendous in all directions… From Black Kaweah to Goddard. From there it was a short matter to get to peak 12,345. On the way we found not 1 but 3 trekking poles! What the hell...Anyways Rogue stuck them up as lightning rods on the peak. The peak was truly magnificent and we were elated for a lack for serious smoke. Needless to say it was an epic peak and pass especially when we descended into the Deadman Canyon Headwall & got the incredible all-encompassing view of the canyon. This view of the canyon truly made my appreciate all the time I had to spend in the Sierra and view such incredible grandeur. We checked out the mine adit, which was pretty cool. We had a glorious lunch at the top of the headwall. From there were crossed some shitty rock and then cruised along towards Horn Col. Not long and we hit the Elizabeth Pass Trail, which we barely walked on before heading toward Horn Col. Pass #3 of the day was conquered easily and quickly. The view was really cool looking back at the Headwall & Glacier Ridge. From there we descended to Lonely Lake. We were feeling good so we pressed on. Lonely Lake wasn’t nearly as nice as I thought it would be. From Lonely Lake we had to drop down a ways before we could climb up Pterodactyl Pass. Although the pass was super easy we were getting tired and going all the way up we were huffing & puffing like no tomorrow. Pass #4 of the day complete! Neither of us had done 4 in a day & we climbed our 10th peak of the section, which is more than any other section either of us had ever done. The views looking back while climbing the pass were gorgeous. Looking at the Kaweah’s, Valhalla, the canyons...Just epic. Without a doubt the most scenic day of backpacking ever with excellent weather and good energy. Clouds built a bit but nothing major. Now were on the Tablelands, which was an area I had been looking forward to as well. I saw Moose Lake but that was abut it. Definitely much more boring than I hoped for and no major views. We traversed around looking for the lake to camp at and unfortunately neither the first nor second lake offered much. After much toil and struggling up some small bumps we finally reached a lake that we could camp at, but decided to lay out. The small bumps felt like major mountains to us since we had used all of our energy on the 4 passes of the day! Energy was super low & we were both struggling to finally get there but when we did finally we really couldn’t have been happier to be done with the day. Epic day with an excellent dinner and a nice view of the sky while camping out. Unfortunately the lake was super low and there were some copepods… oh well I'd be drinking them since we had no choice.
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Re: TR: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic 7/1-9/19/16

Post by alpinemike » Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:30 pm

Day 56- Tablelands to Wolverton
Today was finally the day. The day I’d get to my car and we’d get food and finally be done with hard sections. We had planned 3 14 day sections and more less did of them as scheduled with another 10 day section in between. We were very ready to not carry more than about a week's worth of food on our backs. We made good time through the Tablelands and down to the meadows & out to Pear Lake. Not much of a view anywhere, but plenty of granite. We were very happy we didn’t have to climb up Pterodactyl that day and that we were that much further. Pear Lake was truly gorgeous and the trail around the lake was pretty with nice views looking back at the Tablelands & Lodgepole. Hard to believe that Lodgepole was directly below us. We climbed the Watchtower & enjoyed a nice lunch & view up Tokopah Valley. It wasn’t long that were tromping on asphalt to my truck that was fortunately still there. Man on man... It was pretty crazy to see my baby there. And what do you know… A note on the door saying I’ll get a citation if I don’t make contact. That was pretty hilarious no doubt. The bus driver said they had left the note just the day before of all days. Anyways my Taco started up just fine and drove normally. Dirty as all hell, but hey what do you expect after 56 days. We drove to Lodgepole and checked in at the Ranger Station. I actually got to speak to Leanna of all people. I spoke with her back in June about leaving my truck. She said everything was okay and that I could call the Law Enforcement Ranger Shore back and let him know the situation. Since he wasn’t around… I would have to get ahold of him at some point. From there we get some snacks and performed our showering and laundry errands. From there we hit up the Wuksachi Lodge and all the glorious Wi-Fi Internet there. Around dinner we got our burgers & chili-cheese fries which were quite incredible. From there we headed back to the lodge and chilled some more. By 10:45 we headed out & decided to sleep illegally in the bed of my truck on the side of the road. We drove down the road a bit & found a place by 11:20 P.M. where we both slept together. It wasn't too cramped and I didn't mind at all. Better than paying some exorbitant campground fee to sleep for the night.
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So there you have it... The last long section of the summer. Only one long section to go... Pioneer Basin! This one really tired us out and we were ready for a few days of rest and food at VVR. To date this is still my favorite section of backpacking and had some of the grandest scenery I've ever witnessed anywhere let alone just the Sierra.
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Re: TR: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic 7/1-9/19/16

Post by Cross Country » Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:42 pm

You could have easily gone up to Kid Lakes. I did it two times, the second time I was injured and crippled and did it with a large pack. I was with "saint" Diane. you would have had good fishing at one of the Kids (middle of the three). This is assuming of course that no government assassin hasn't killed them.
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Re: TR: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic 7/1-9/19/16

Post by alpinemike » Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:46 pm

I've actually been to the Kid Lakes. And Rogue twice! Absolutely stunning area. You can read my report from 2015. It was the last area I went through that summer.
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Re: TR: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic 7/1-9/19/16

Post by Cross Country » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:56 pm

And I meant to say the lower of the three lakes. It had good fishing for at least 31 years through 2003.

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Re: TR: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic 7/1-9/19/16

Post by Cross Country » Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:10 pm

I've been to the Tablelands twice, once by myself and once with my son Mike when he was 8 or 9. It's exactly the kind of place I like beacause it has beautiful trees, grass, flowers, animals and a really nice creek (the river) and still has some nice elevation. Each to their own but the places without much life just look pretty dead to me and I like signs of life.

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Re: TR: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic 7/1-9/19/16

Post by alpinemike » Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:09 pm

Alright... finally Week 9! Pioneer Basin and peakbagging.

Day 57- To VVR
We both got up early & without any legal ********… good. We ate our breakfast stuff & started the drive out to Fresno. We got there really early but we did have quite a bit to do. We hit up Walmart, got food, sharpies for outlining the routes on my map, and Rogue's SD card. He wanted to attempt to transfer his media at VVR so that it would actually play off of his phone. From there we hit up Freebird for our long awaited epic Nacho’s. And yes… they were epic. I got a burrito to go for dinner for the next day. We stopped at Office Depot where I got my mechanical pencil, which had broken way back in Cedar Grove. We then went to REI. I got a stake for my tent and ended up getting the REI Down Jacket for $49. Pretty darn good deal and hoping it’s warm enough. The weather forecast said mostly good, except for Labor Day weekend which unfortunately gave the serious chance for snow…oh great. Nothing we could do, except hope for the best. From there we hit up our final stop, Pizza Hut. We both got 2 mediums for a total of 4 epic Pizza’s. Kind of ridiculous, actually very ridiculous. From there I decided to call Ranger Shore & of course he wasn’t around again. I was **** if I couldn't reach him. My best friend from high school, Frank was at Shaver Lake working as an electrical engineer for Edison & happened to be driving by right now. He actually meet us at the parking lot of the Pizza Hut. Right then Ranger Shore called back & fortunately everything got cleared up. It was good to see Frank & he’ll be coming to Tahoe soon. Anyways from there the long drive up the shitty road began. We got to VVR after 7:30ish, after getting to Florence Lake to pick up Rogue's truck. Everyone at VVR was envious of our pizzas and we certainly got some hilarious looks. The pizza was delicious & fortunately VVR was mostly in good shape. Breakfast, lunch, and BBQ were all going, very much unlike when we had left many weeks prior. Jordan was happy to see us alive. I chilled by the fire for a long time chatting & finally got a restful sleep after midnight.
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Day 58- Layover
We both wake up around 8:40 A.M. The first major hiccup was that none of the bathrooms were open because there was no water. Someone drunk at 3 A.M. left the water on all night & drained the system… fantastic since I had to really use the facilities. We enjoyed lots of chatting, longing and finishing our glorious pizza. Rogue tried to download his media to his phone but to no avail. Then we dealt with our resupplies and I found that I had a lot more food for the next section than I thought. Probably a good thing, since I'd rather have more rather than be starving. Anyways… There was a situation at the back of the lake with capsized a boat with 5 guys. One of them when they got out of the water was unresponsive. This caused the cook to have to go over there which caused BBQ to be delayed… I guess we’ll see how all this plays out. Unfortunately the incident at the lake was fatal. Likely caused by drowning & choking on chew. The full details involved several JMT hikers that came by to rescue the men out of the lake. When one performed CPR he did not check for blockages in the throat and may have caused the chew to get further lodged to where suffocation occurred. This was all speculation since we never got an official statement. The BBQ situation panned out to be quite good. Dinner was a little later but it was magnificent. My burrito was delicious & I got a side of meatloaf that was pretty epic. The sauce was fantastic & the meat… well you get the idea. Rogue got ribs & they certainly lived up to VVR’s BBQ standards. Chris made milkshakes for us specially & on the house! And he even promised us a whole Apple Pie for next time. That will be most epic. I gave Chris the rest of my chips, as a thanks for the shakes and pie. We had a grand time around the fire that night. Around 11 or so some guy came out telling us to shut it down & said we were too loud. We basically said okay, but then told him to **** off by staying out well past midnight & when the employees showed up they said he can **** off too. We did quiet down quite a bit so I didn't feel too bad. Ah, good times…

Day 59- VVR to 2nd Recess Jct.
This morning we were in no hurry as we didn’t have too far to go & our packs were much lighter than any other section. For us a week long trip was a huge relief compared to 2 week long trips that we were so used to this year and in prior years. We asked Jordan about leaving our cars there at VVR & it was too long to stay for free. So, after a delicious French Toast B-fast we got all our gear packed up and moved our trucks up the road to the TH. Annoying that we’ll have to hike slightly up the road when we get out but we weren’t gonna complain. We got a ferry across the lake pretty late & we were the only ones so it was a smooth, fast trip. Even made it further to the very back of the lake, which I never had the pleasure of before. We took lunch by the bridge jct. From there it was up the familiar dry & exposed trail. We had done this exact same trail almost 2 months earlier. It was hard to believe that we were still out here. I know I had the feeling of being extremely fortunate, lucky, and grateful for having the ability this amount of time in the Sierra each summer. It wasn’t long that we got to the 2nd Recess jct., where we made camp. We had a nice fire and good dinner amid a real forest. Something, we’d have to wait for till the end of this section as the entirety of our section was in the high country. It was just the way I liked it. I switched out my tent for the Hexamid at VVR and I really liked all the extra space. Naturally it's a pain in the ass to get the pitch right and there's a lot going on with it but fortunately I only had to mess with it for a week or so. I got the pitch close to being right that first night.
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Day 60- 2nd Recess Jct. to Pioneer Basin
Today was Day 60. 2 months out here in the Sierra. What a feeling! I achieved one continuous month back in 2014 and here I was 2 years later and hit the 2 month mark. We headed up Mono creek into Pioneer Basin. Not much else to say on this day. Getting up to our lake in Pioneer was easy and we got here by 2:30 or so. We found a nice, somewhat sheltered camp that had small trees. The scenery is pretty, but not grand, which is more or less what I expected out of Pioneer Basin. This was all new terrain to me, so I had been looking forward to it given the relative ease of travel and nice views. Looking back across the basin & valley we can see the Little Lakes Valley peaks along with the 4th & 3rd Recesses, which is really cool. The day wasn’t too windy, but a change in the weather was definitely coming.
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Re: TR: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic 7/1-9/19/16

Post by alpinemike » Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:18 pm

Day 61- Climb Stanford & Huntington
Today we did the God-awful traverse from Mt. Stanford to Huntington. The day started out fairly pleasant although much windier & cooler. We climbed up the sandy slope to the saddle where we obtained the ridge. I got my first epic view of the area around Red Slate/Red White Mtns. It was just epic… Colors abound, with dark reds, whites, grays, blacks… absolutely nothing like I’ve ever seen in the Sierra & likely nowhere else quite like that. The ridge traverse to Stanford was fairly straightforward and afforded some good cell coverage. I took the opportunity to check the weather… And good news was had. The chance of snow was now decreased to wind & a cool off as a trough passed through. Some fall days ahead but no precipitation. Very good news indeed. We made Stanford by 11:30 and had a grand view to the North & South. From there lay our bane to Huntington. It took us over 4.5 hours, but somehow miraculously we made it & didn’t give up. Although many times we were both very ready. Not much to say other than the fact that it was **** & I seriously don’t think I’ll be doing traverses like that again. Tons of Class 3 exposed rock, some shitty Class 5 downclimb. In the midst of it Rogue dropped his pole so he had to climb Class 5 to get it. Yeah it sucked & we made Huntington by 5 PM. From there it was a tedious & delirious slog back to camp. Didn’t start eating till around 8 or so & we weren’t done until dark. It was windy & cold most of the day along with lots of clouds building. We were in our shells for quite a while. By the time all was said & done we were totally **** obliterated.
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Re: TR: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic 7/1-9/19/16

Post by alpinemike » Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:21 pm

Day 62- Climb Hopkins & Robber Baron
Today was a much nicer day. Compared to yesterday today was a walk in the park.. hah. We climbed Hopkins & then traversed the very easy ridge to the unnamed peak North, which turned out to be called Robber Baron Peak. It was a miserable sandy slog up Hopkins most of the way but we did it in good time. The peaks both had great views but it was windy as hell & quite cold and lots of clouds built all day. The descent of the unnamed peak was easy & right down to our lake. Tonight’s our last night in Pioneer for tomorrow we head over Crocker Col & Hopkins to Big McGee Lake.
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